I thought I would use the book as a reference, but when I started reading I read cover to cover. It a book that you read, then are able to use the strategies presented immediately. --Jules Zimmer, Dean Emeritis, U of CA, Grad Sch Education
This book is really making me rethink the way I teach. The book gives you an awareness of how the brain works and how the brain remembers. I highly recommend it. --Midwest Book Review
Dr. Willis presents very practical yet eye-opening details on how to engage students before you have even begun your lesson. Dr Willis has changed my teaching forever. --You knew that it was true, but this book explains why, Sean Kelly
This book helped me find the missing pieces of the puzzle. I don't usually read my mom's books but I read this one. It is interesting and fun to read. --Hope is on every page - A Kid's Review
From the Back Cover
Midwest Book Review
Board-certified neurologist and middle school teacher Judy Willis, M.D. presents Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning, a guide for K-12 educators that combines the latest findings of learning-centered brain research with practical experience in the classroom. The result is a resource for helping students achieve their full academic potential that covers memory, learning, and test-taking success; strategies to corner student attention; how to mitigate the negative effects and draw benefits from the positive effects of stress and emotion in learning; and much more. A glossary, bibliography for further reading, and index round out this invaluable supplement to enhancing one's grade school curriculum for maximum effectiveness.
Treasure-packed remarkable resource
Dr. Lawrence May
Dr Judy Willis has written an excellent book for helping teachers understand how to teach in ways that engage students' brains and lead to deeper learning. The short text is easy to understand, yet filled with valuable information for teachers.
Teachers must constantly make decisions about which teaching method to use at any given point. Complicating the decision-making, however, is the plethora of methods from which teachers may choose, and the fact that proponents of so many different methods claim to have scientific research to support their ideas. Nevertheless, the task of choosing might be a little easier after reading Willis's book. While many texts focus on advising teachers how to implement a specific teaching strategy, Willis focuses on helping teachers understand how the human brain works and how teachers can use that knowledge to choose strategies that tap into the brain's normal processes.
In just over 100 pages, Willis deals with a wide range of educational issues. For example, she describes how the brain stores information and develops networking connections between related data. This, she writes, can help teachers understand why students sometimes have difficulty learning vocabulary. Unless a student is shown the relationships between existing knowledge and the new vocabulary, the student's brain stores the new information in isolation. Storing information in isolation then makes it more difficult for the brain to retrieve the information later. Conversely, if the student understands the connections between previous knowledge and new knowledge, the brain literally networks the information, which makes it easier for the brain to retrieve the information in the future. Willis describes how teachers can use graphic organizers, visualization, and role-play to help students make those cognitive connections.
An entire chapter is dedicated to understand how stress affects the brain and how schools and families can work together to reduce stress on students and help students handle the stress they do feel. Another chapter is dedicated to discussing many good assessment techniques. In this context, rather than merely describing how to write rubrics, Willis describes how rubrics help students' brains develop.
Of course, in describing so many neurological functions, it is necessary for Willis to use intimidating terms, such as dendrites, occipital lobes, and prefrontal cortex. Willis does a remarkable job, however, explaining such terms. And in case the reader forgets what a term means mid-book, the book includes a handy glossary.
I found Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning to be a surprisingly understandable, yet treasure-packed resource. And its readability and short length mean one can easily read it over a weekend.
Best of all, the book could meet the needs of a wide audience. Willis has explained her ideas well enough that preservice teachers could easily understand the material; in fact, I can see this book becoming popular in teacher education programs. At the same time, the book offers such a unique perspective and valuable information that even veteran teachers are likely to benefit from investing their time in reading it.